This is a local favourite in Singapore, and it can be found in coffeeshops islandwide. While browsing recipes online one day, I came across this recipe by Kitchen Tigress and am very tempted to try it! So here it is. Maybe one day I will be brave enough to attempt it.
HAR CHEONG GAI (虾酱鸡; PRAWN PASTE CHICKEN)
(Recipe for 4 persons)
1 tbsp sugar
½ tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp 虾酱 (har cheong; Chinese fermented prawn paste)
2 chicken legs, about 400 g, wash, drain, and chop chunky
¼ cup tapioca starch
vegetable oil for deep-frying
The most important ingredient for Prawn Paste Chicken is, other than prawn paste and chicken, water. The tapioca starch is also crucial. That’s what Hong Kong Street Zhen Ji uses for its very popular har cheong gai, as shown in the video here. It’s pretty good, better than cornflour.
Add sugar, oyster sauce, water and har cheong to chicken. Stir thoroughly. Marinate 3-4 hours, turning over once mid-way.
Bring chicken to room temperature. Shake off excess marinade from chicken. Dredge in tapioca starch till thinly coated. Pat lightly to get rid of excess starch.
Deep-fry chicken in moderately hot oil over medium heat till cooked through and lightly golden brown. Remove chicken to a sieve. Increase heat to high. Heat oil till just smoking. Refry chicken till golden brown. Drain in a sieve lined with paper towels. Serve immediately.
If you use chicken wings instead of legs, marinate 12 hours. The skin on the wings makes it more difficult for the marinade to get into the meat.